Last week, two Phoenix TV news helicopters collided during a frenzy to capture a car chase and carjacking on tape for the news cast that day.
The crash resulted in four helicopter crew members losing their lives. The suspect was arrested and charged with vehicle theft and eluding – and now, there’s word that police want to charge him with the helicopter “journalists’” deaths as well.
From the beginning, this story is all wrong.
First of all, was the story that important?
Each day across the country there are police chases, wrecks and carjackings. Criminal’s carjack, and police chase them. I don’t think these things need to be publicized on live TV.
What if the driver had hit and killed a pedestrian? Sure, that might seem to be good for TV ratings, but horribly insensitive to a victim’s family. In print journalism, we strive to make ethical decisions about what photos to print with out sacrificing details of a story that should be told. But this story didn’t need to be told.
Next time you see a police chase on cable news, ask yourself whether you’d like to see a loved one’s parting moments caught on tape to become part of a you-saw-it-here-first news cast. Or, how would you like helicopters to come crashing through your roof after failed attempts to capture a car-chase story on film?
And, police want to charge the suspect for the “journalists’” deaths? C’mon, that’s just ridiculous. When innocent passersby are caught in the crossfire or public servants, like police officers, are injure or injured doing their jobs, charges against a suspect are warranted.
But, those journalists were not forced to go up and cover that story. Unfortunately, they paid quite a price for doing so. Was it worth it?